Ngon! Vietnam

`Ngon! Vietnam

As most of you know, my parents joined me in Vietnam. They chose this beautiful country to see me on my journey. Nice reunion fifteen months after my departure from France. The opportunity to find a family complicity and share beautiful moments. The opportunity also for me to put the bike and travel differently. It would be a little tricky to dwell on the details of our stay. Also, I preferred to develop this post rather around photography. Our journey begins in Hanoi, capital of the country located in the north of the country.

We then took the night train to the north, especially Sapa, with its famous rice terraces. Then Bac Ha and its famous Sunday market, where you can find a little bit of everything, many of the traders who made the road the day before to be present. After this explosion of color, we continued by the Ha Giang road which makes a loop near the Chinese border. We usually sleep directly with the locals for an immersion in the culture of local minorities. 

Rice plantation
We also took the opportunity to stop in the northern mountains for an easy hike through isolated hamlets and rice plantations. Our exploration takes us to the karst plateau of Dong Van, still in the northern mountains, to discover the landscapes and local life. 

After a short stay in Hanoi we take the road back to Cat Ba and Halong Bay. Certainly a must in Vietnam. this magical place was part of my priorities in Vietnam. A dream come true for two days where time has momentarily suspended. We continue our route towards Ninh Binh, known for its rivers that we visit by boat. The area shows remnants of the colonial era and the population is almost exclusively Catholic practicing here. 

Ngon! Vietnam

Then it's time to go to the south of the country. A delay in the plane makes us arrive at the end of the day to the city of Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). We can thus have a first night impression of its city center and its colonial style architecture. 

We make a visit to the famous tunnels of Cu Chi, high place of the Vietnamese resistance during the war of independence. A return to Saigon allows us to see the main buildings of the day and to visit some of them. Then we take the road towards the Mekong Delta. This gigantic river is divided here into nine arms, also nicknamed the nine dragons. Here life is organized mainly around the river. 

It is (already) time for separations. We visited a good part of Vietnam, in an irreproachable organization thanks to the agency  Dragon Travel. But especially thanks to the impetus and to the original idea of ​​mother, undoubtedly central pillar of the family. This reunion was a breath of fresh air on this journey. But he did not move me away from my main goal: New Zealand.

Ngon! Vietnam

I stay a few days in Saigon. I am waiting for the return of a physiotherapist with whom I made an appointment as part of my project. Van is none other than the head of the Department of Physiotherapy at the Ho Chi Minh Medical University. She did her master's degree at UCL, in Belgium, like me, with whom she stays in contact and tries to make the exchanges last as long as possible. She has now taken on the responsibility of developing the profession in her country, particularly in terms of deepening education and expanding the fields of action of therapists. It aims to create a master's degree in Vietnam in order to have the profession recognized at the international level, but also at the university level, which is still not the case in France despite the seniority of the profession and the development of scientific research.

I take a night bus to Da Lat, a small town located in the center of the country. Well known and renowned for its mild climate and surrounding waterfalls. I spend a day riding with Charlene and her mother Nathalie. She too has joined her daughter in Vietnam. 

Another night bus (16 hours this time) takes me to the city of Hoi An. Well known for its historic city center and its yellow-walled houses, the city can be visited in the early morning if you want to avoid the hordes of tourists (mainly Chinese) dumped by bus during the day. At night thousands of lanterns are lit and give an atypical atmosphere to the city. 

Ngon! Vietnam

I end my stay in Vietnam with the city of Hue. The citadel and the tombs of various emperors make it a major cultural center. But I can not hide a weakness for visiting an abandoned water park, having never even opened its doors for lack of resources. Ambiance guaranteed during this dark day sprinkled with showers.

I had added Hue to my program for a specific reason: Reblochon pizza from a French restaurant. With a Ricard as an aperitif, here I am ready to hit the road again. This is what I do by the night train that brings me back to Hanoi. I find here my bike that I hasten to bring to the repairman to change my luggage before, died in an accident in Beijing. Here I am ready to leave for unknown countries. I leave Vietnam welcoming. My path is now towards Laos, a land of smiles and joviality.

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